Diamante is understandably excited.
The 21-year-old Boston native, who has a lust for guitars, wants to bring rock back to the mainstream, and it’s beginning to look like she (along with her eponymous band) might be able to pull it off. The striking, blue-haired singer has already heated up the rock charts with the single version of “Hear Me Now,” a duet with current tour mates Bad Wolves that has gathered 9.3 million YouTube views and reached No. 35 on Hot Rock Songs and No. 6 on Hard Rock Digital Song Sales. But with her debut album, Coming in Hot — which Eleven Seven dropped on June 15 — Diamante hopes to light up the format on her own.
“As an emerging artist, I want to be someone who brings rock back to the masses, back to the young generation,” she tells Billboard. “I call it ‘the new rock animal’ — and that’s what I’d love to be seen as — which is classic rock with a modern alternative edge.”
Coming in Hot is an excellent showcase for the raw power of her voice, which at times recalls Melissa Etheridge and Sass Jordan blended with the dispassionate élan of Blondie’s Debbie Harry. The official video for the title song has already racked up over 1.3 million views on YouTube, as has the video single for “Had Enough.” A clip for the ballad “I’m Sorry,” released the week of June 11, has already topped 75,000 views. Coming in Hot also boasts a blistering cover of Heart’s “Crazy on You” and a Spanish version of “I’m Sorry” (“Lo Siento”).
“I want to hear rock music on top 40 radio, and if my music can help it get there, than that’s the greatest feeling in the world,” says Diamante. “I’m proud of what we accomplished, working with [producer] Howard [Benson and musicians] Lenny Skolnik, Seann Bowe and Trev Lukather. They really pushed me, and I think the album has a great duality of the strong and the vulnerable.”
Benson (Skillet, Adam Lambert, Kelly Clarkson, Bang Tango), who recorded the album at his West Valley Recording Studios in Woodland Hills, Calif., has high hopes for the singer. He tells Billboard, “I’ve always thought there was an opening for another great rock female singer, and once I heard Diamante’s voice for the first time, I knew I had to work with her. I am stoked that [Eleven Seven label head] Allen Kovac brought her to me, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for her.”
Diamante’s future, it seems, has a touch of the ’80s. “I love bands from the ’80s so much, and they’re ultimately who influence my music the most. ‘Coming in Hot,’ to me, is this really ’80s, fun, summer anthem,” she says. “A lot of those songs from that era were anthems, and I wanted something like that on the album. I knew the song had to be the title of the album because it was so direct and to the point. It’s a metaphor because it’s my first full-length album: I’m not coming in slowly or timidly — I’m coming in hot!”
In addition to the songs that have already been released, “Fight Like a Girl (F.L.A.G.)” stands out for the singer because “it’s an empowering song to me. I was able to take the term ‘Fight like a girl,’ which has always had this negative connotation, and flip it on its head into something that is strong and powerful.”
“Definitely Not in Love,” a nasty sung/spoken number that sounds like a kiss-off (but might be something else) is another favorite of hers. “When I like someone, I kind of have that eight-year-old mentality where I tease the person, and I roast them. So I pretty much just wrote an entire roast about someone I like, and it has a kind of punk, kind of Avril Lavigne vibe.”
Of “Lo Siento,” the Mexican-Italian singer says, “There’s something about singing in Spanish. It’s such a romantic language that you really emote a lot of passion, and as a power ballad, I think it was the perfect choice. That’s something I want to do more in the future is sing more songs in Spanish.”
Though her future may contain a touch of the ’80s, Diamante is self-aware and confident about going forward. “I just know what’s in myself and believe in evolving organically. Every six months, I feel like I become a whole different person and go through all these different experiences. But my goal is not simply to re-create something that’s already been done, but to build upon it and grow from it. Who knows? Album No. 2 could be more alternative or even more rock’n’roll. You don’t really know until the music in you is telling you where to go.”
Diamante is touring with Bad Wolves and From Ashes to New through July 6, then will head back out with Bad Wolves to make an appearance during its set on a summer package tour that also features Five Finger Death Punch, Nothing More and Breaking Benjamin. For tour dates, go here and here.